Hey, guys. Today for Tot Tuesday I have a fun guest post for you. Have you ever had an experience with other (people’s) kids where their behavior is appalling to begin with, but then add in the little fact that it was aimed at your (sometimes much younger) child, and you just about lose your cool? Little Monkey and I were at the park a few weeks ago. We have tried very hard to teach him that slides go only one direction: down. You don’t climb up the slides. It’s dangerous and rude to the other kids who are using the slide correctly. Well, one little girl (okay, she wasn’t that little – eight or so probably) kept climbing the slide, even while all the other kids were sliding down. Then she’d get mad and yell at the kids who were using the slide the right way for running into her. I kept looking around for this child’s parents, but I have no idea if they were even there. It took every ounce of restraint for me to not step in and tell this little girl a thing or two. Finally, after the third time of her climbing the slide while Little Monkey was going down, she went into her little fit routine she’d pull every other time and my three-year-old, my awesome, amazing three-year-old looked at her like she was crazy (probably got that look from me….) and yelled back, “Slides go down!”
She probably had no idea what he even meant, but my momma heart swelled with pride. He was listening and learning what we were teaching; but, even better, he wasn’t afraid to stand up for himself. Even though this girl was a lot bigger than he is. He knew he was not doing anything wrong. Unfortunately, these little squabbles won’t go away any time soon. Kids are kids and kids can be mean and selfish. So, what do you do?
I have Nicole here with some great advice! Take it away, Nicole!
About a year ago I took my then two-year-old daughter to swim class where beforehand the kids often play in a small waiting area for their individual classes to start. Now, you don’t know my kid but if you did you would be well aware that she is not a shy child by any means. She talks to everyone and I have several times had to stop her from hugging random people in the supermarket. So it was no surprise to me when she ran right up to a group of slightly older girls who were playing tea party.
The next thing I knew one of the older children was screaming at my baby, “Get out of here! I don’t want to play with you, BABY!” There stood my overly friendly toddler looking like a confused deer-in-the-headlights, and me, completely stunned and lost for what to do next.
Since then, I have learned that toddler disputes are a way of life and learning for our little ones. But that doesn’t mean we have to let them duke it out in a sand box ring o’ death. More often than not, the best way to resolve these issues is to take steps to ensure they don’t happen to begin with.
Children are mirrors of their environment. If you solve problems by yelling and throwing things, guess how your child will handle their own problems? Give your child options other than grabbing and throwing sand when it comes to getting what they want. Encouraging and demonstrating healthy problem solving skills will not only help on the playground when someone else doesn’t want to share, but also all through out your child’s adult life.
Helping your child get verbally acquainted with their feelings is another way to solve disputes before they start. Many times the tantrum starts because toddlers do not know how to communicate their feelings properly, and they get frustrated when you or someone else doesn’t understand. Using everyday activates to explain your feelings will help your child to associate the feelings with the words. “Mommy is so happy right now, are you happy?” “That puzzle was a little difficult. I’m sorry you were frustrated when you couldn’t get the pieces to fit.” When the situation arises, your child will be better equipped to explain the situation to you without completely melting down in frustration.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to speak up for yourself and for your child. This was a hard one for me. While we all want to be politically correct and mind our own business, there is truth behind the saying “It takes a village.” I’m not saying to put someone else’s child in time-out, but it doesn’t hurt to gently remind another child that throwing sand is not okay.
While it’s no fun to be a tattletale, if the situation is becoming aggressive or dangerous, I always recommend going straight to the parent. Remember, when talking to another parent regarding a sensitive subject, like their child’s behavior, be kind and not accusatory, but prepare yourself for them to jump on the defense. Try saying something along the lines of: “I think our kids might be having a situation over there,” as opposed to “Your child is getting out of hand!” And if you’re the parent on the receiving end of this conversation, be open and respectful of the other parent. It’s never easy to start up this conversation.
If all else fails, walk away. Not everyone is going to agree with your parenting philosophy and they don’t have to. But if you feel that you or your child is threatened or unsafe, just pack up and go somewhere else. There will always be other days at the park.
If you’d like to get more While He Was Napping, you can find me here: